Blogging101

Shiny New Blogs on my Reader :)

Day 3 of Blogging101 was to get to grips with the Reader topics list and find some new and interesting blogging neighbours to follow. Having branched out of my usual ‘knitting’ or ‘crafting’ tag search I spent a large chunk of yesterday evening reading and following some brilliant blogs that I am really excited about. Here are just a few of them:

Young & Hungry – a great cooking blog with some fantastic recipes! I am not a brilliant cook and it’s something I really want to improve on. The blog tagline is ‘Delicious doesn’t have to be difficult’ – so that’s good news for me!

As a sideline, Mr A. and I went to the Garden Centre at the weekend and being rather late in the day we arrived at the end of a Chilli Festival. Our lateness may have caused us to miss the Mexican Pan-pipers but it turned out ok in the end as they were selling loads of chilli plants for just £2 each – bargain! So we got 3, ‘Ring of Fire’, ‘Scotch Bonnett’ and ‘Joes Long Cayenne’.

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And also some of this…

Chilli Beer

So after finding the Young & Hungry blog I feel super inspired to impress Mr. A with a surprise dinner. First up will be….Chilli Chicken! 🙂

Helen’s Journal – Helen’s photos are simply stunning. The latest post includes some soft image photo’s taken in New York and I love the abstractness (is that a word?) of them; the images appear as if they are made up of little balls of coloured light. I’m not explaining myself very well am I – probably best you go check them out here, you’ll see what I mean!  Some photos on the blog are also accompanied by a poem or a quote. I am looking forward to following Helen’s Journal and seeing some more beautiful pictures taken on her travels.

paris: small capital – Having spent an amazing weekend in Paris earlier in the year this blog totally captured my imagination. The author is Kim who moved to Paris in 2009 and through her blog explores the back streets of Paris and the places lesser known on the tourist trail. It is brilliantly written, very funny and full of interesting stories about Paris. I will be returning to this blog soon with a cup of tea!

White Elephant in the Room – this blog actually made me laugh out loud,  I love this post about wine tasting – brilliant! The author is someone who finds fun in the everyday things and I also love the fact that each post is individually illustrated with a white elephant to tie in with the post, very clever.

Today I have been filling up my reader with lots of  interesting new topics; there will never be another dull moment 🙂

Thanks for stopping by! x

Travel

Boston and Beyond

It’s been a week since we got back from our trip to New York and Boston. While I was able to blog every day in NY  I wasn’t quite so organised on the second leg of our trip and since being back time has just flown, so here is a belated account of what we got up to in Boston.

I was sad to say goodbye to New York – 3 days just wasn’t long enough and while we certainly made the most of our time there thanks to a 3 day city pass there were still things that remained unticked on my list; such as the Guggenheim and the fact that (despite my best plotting-on-a-map efforts) I didn’t happen to stumble upon a NY yarn store. Bah.

On Wednesday morning we picked up our car and headed on a roadtrip to Boston, stopping at a diner for lunch.

After what should have been a 5 hour drive we eventually arrived in Boston late on Weds evening due to complications with the sat nav (not user error at all….honest!)

We had planned to go whale watching on the Thursday morning but when we arrived at the harbour we were told that the the tour was full that day. Instead we took the opportunity to explore the city.

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One of the places we went to visit was the Old South Meeting House, built in 1729, which is famous for being the place where the Boston Tea Party began back in 1773. It was the largest building in colonial Boston and was used for public gatherings, a place of worship and engaging debates.

Some of the comments in the exhibit were quite funny – I would love to know what beef this person has with Queen Latifah?!

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From here we took a stroll around Boston Common and ended up at the Cheers Bar.

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In the afternoon we went to the New England Aquarium which has a magnificent collection of fish, animals and exhibits.

That evening we went to a ‘Quilts and Color’ exhibition at the Museum of Fine Art – some of the pieces on display were absolutely stunning and I am going to do a separate post about these.

On the Friday we drove to Cape Cod where we found the Black Purls Yarn Shop in East Sandwich where I finally got my yarn fix – yay!

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The shop was very well stocked and had some gorgeous yarns to squish and drool over. I need more yarn like I need a hole in the head but I couldn’t resist these 3 skeins (this is not the best picture as the middle one is more of a browny colour and the blue is a lot darker). And I have no idea what I will make from them yet.

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Happy, happy, happy  🙂

We spent the afternoon at the Plimoth Plantation, a living museum showing how life was in the 17th century. There is a recreation of a small farming town, populated by actors who go about their daily life in full costume and answer any questions you have, all completely in character. It was a fascinating place!

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On Saturday, our last day, we made it onto the Whale Watch. The weather wasn’t great and the water was a bit choppy but once we got out to sea and saw the whales it really was an incredible experience!

We saw about 7 – 8 whales in total, mostly Fin whales and a minky whale.

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That really was the cherry on the top of a brilliant holiday!

Now, what to make with that yarn….

Travel

Day 3 – Central Park

Day 3, our final day in New York, started with a walk through Hells Kitchen. It was once one of the most violent and dangerous neighbourhoods in the City (Herbert Asbury wrote The Gangs of New York in 1927 inspired by the area) however today it is lined with a mix of restaurants and residential buildings.

There are many theories as to how the area got it’s name but the one I like is the story of 2 police officers watching a fight in the area. One turned to the other and said ‘man, it’s hotter than Hell here’, to which the other replied ‘hell is cool compared to this, this is Hell’s Kitchen!’

Our walk brought us out by Pier 86 and to the Intrepid Sea-Air-Space museum. The museum is on board the Intrepid itself, a 900 foot long aircraft carrier and houses vintage air and sea craft such as the A-12 Blackbird, the worlds fastest spy plane.

You can also take a tour of the missile submarine the USS Growler and see a retired Concorde and the Space Shuttle Enterprise.

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There was an exhibition there on camouflage which looked at how things in the natural world are designed to blend in with their surroundings. My favourite were these butterflies with their wing markings mimicking owls eyes.

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From here we took a rickshaw to B&H Photo-Video on 34th Street, a massive electronics shop spanning the length of one entire block, it has to be seen to be believed!

The afternoon was spent in Central Park. We have been so lucky with the weather during our stay, it was a lovely afternoon strolling through the park and sitting under a blossom tree with a hotdog and a giant pretzel!

We went for a little row on the boating lake too and stopped at the boathouse for a couple of drinks and watched the world go by.

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No prizes for guessing where we went next. I had to have one!

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We found ourselves back in Times Square for dinner and stumbled upon a great Indian restaurant Utsav. The food was great, albeit a little pricey, but it was a lovely dinner to end our stay in New York.

Today we drive up to Boston!

Art, Travel

Day 2 in the Big Apple

Today we started our journey at Discovery in Times Square at the Body Worlds exhibition. It is an exhibition of the work undertaken by Gunther von Hagen, the inventor of plastination which is used to preserve the human body. The subjects are all donors who agreed for their bodies to be preserved and displayed for scientific research. The exhibition focused on health and wellbeing and how the stresses and challenges of everyday life can affect the body. My husband was a lot keener to see the exhibition than I was, but I’m glad I saw it. It’s a real eye opener and definitely makes you look at and appreciate your body in a whole new light!

Next stop was the Museum of Modern Art, or MoMA. The museum houses masterpieces of modern and contemporary art by artists such as Van Gogh, Cezanne, Miro, Picasso, Andy Warhol, Monet, Matisse, Ernst…. The list goes on!

Here is one of my all time favourites, The Starry Night by Van Gogh.

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And Andy Warhols cow wallpaper, I love this!

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The MoMA is a truly inspirational place – there is also a sculpture garden where you can grab a coffee and sit and take it all in.

From here we took a wander down Fifth Avenue to visit some iconic shops such as Tiffany’s, FAO Schwarz (the toy shop in the film Big, and you can have a go on the piano too!) and the Apple store.

After dinner we headed over to the Rockefeller ‘Top of the Rock’ viewing observatory to see phenomenal views of the city in lights.

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Travel

New York, New York

So here we are in New York, day 1 done and so far so amazing!

Our hotel is a stones throw away from Times Square do yesterday we walked through and down to the Grand Central station for breakfast.

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There was an exhibition on of quilted panels to mark the anniversary of the station last year.

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From here we went to the Empire State Building. The views were breathtaking!

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We then took a tube down to ground zero which was a very humbling experience. It’s so hard to comprehend the devastation that took place there. The memorial site is beautiful though, they are still developing the site and it should be opening fully in the next few weeks including an artefact museum which will house some of the original steel structures from the twin towers. I imagine it will be a very moving place to visit.

We walked from Ground Zero to Battery Park and caught a water taxi up the east of Manhattan. It took is right up close to the Statue of Liberty so we were able to get some amazing photo’s.

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We alighted the water taxi at Greenwich Village and found a little bar in the area for a quick drink and a cookie.

Our plans for the evening were already in place as I had managed to get tickets to see Suzanne Vega at the City Winery. The venue was amazing, I will have to wait until I get back to post some pics but it was a brilliant night. The support act was Ari Hest who I only discovered when I booked the tickets but he is totally up my street, gorgeous songs with a voice to die for. Check out his song ‘something to look forward to’ and I guarantee you will fall in love!

And the best part of the night? I only got to meet Ari Hest AND Suzanne Vega herself!!! I have been a fan for over 20 years so it was such an honour to meet her and say hello. And she even signed my book 🙂

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Today we have another full agenda of things to do and see so I had best get a wriggle on!

Gardening, knitting

Hello Sunshine!

I’ve been a bit rubbish at blogging lately, but now I am back I would like to share some of the fun stuff I have been up to 🙂

Firstly, I finally finished module 3 of the C&G knitting course – hooray! Big lesson learnt there is to start writing things up as I go along and not leave it to the very end and having to decipher my notes. It took me twice as long to write the module up then it did to knit the samples! Anyway, that is all done and posted off and I am now on to module 4. I am quite excited about this one as it is all about Colour. Having a look through the activity contents this one is more heavily weighted towards design than knitting and the first activity is to gather a selection of inspirational images to reflect the theme of colour.

Whilst I am doing that I am also in the middle of knitting up a hat design inspired by a recent trip to Paris. Here’s a progress shot.

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I hadn’t intended to design another hat at first, the pattern I was working on kind of decided it for me. I was inspired to try a travelling stitch pattern as I had knit a couple of samples for module 3 and one of them was the ‘Tree of Life‘ from the afghan by Nicky Epstein.

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I like the way you can ‘draw’ with a travelling stitch, like Nicky has done with the tree branches so that is what I am exploring in my next design.

And what about Spring Haze? Well, I have resigned myself that my Spring Haze wrap is going to be a very long WIP, I have changed the design for the main part and it needs a lot of attention which I haven’t been able to give it lately. But I am still working on it, even if it is very slowly…

I am super excited about about is the return of summer – which starts officially next weekend when the clocks go forward! This weekend has been typical of the weather in England, woke up yesterday to glorious sunshine so my husband and I hot footed it to the garden centre for supplies for our yearly garden overhaul.

We got some lovely plants including this:

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It’s called a ‘Fritillaria Meleagris’ or ‘Snakes Head Fritillary’. I love the snakeskin pattern on the petals – so pretty!

We also got some of these:

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A ‘Senetti’ plant. The actual colour is more purple than this but my phone camera made it bright blue! This one is definitely going in my colour file 🙂

On the way back we stopped at the shop for BBQ supplies, our reward for a hard days work in the garden. But as you have probably guessed, on our way home the skys clouded over the heavens opened. Typical!

In other news I have been getting out and about over the past month, I had an amazing trip to Paris, visited the new Birmingham Library and caught the Hannah Hoch exhibition at Whitechapel last week, all of which I will write about soon.

I also have a trip planned for New York and Boston coming up too which I am sooo excited about. If anyone has any suggestions as to interesting places to visit please do let me know!