Sunday, July 31, 2011

211:365 I've Got My Eye on You . . .

I went to the eye doctor yesterday, hence the gigantic pupil and yellow gunk stuck in my eyelashes (remainders of those nasty freezy drops they use so they can check your eyeball pressure).

It's amazing to me that I could still see, I just had to wear sunglasses all day because my pupils were dilated. That's my left eye. The doc says there is a cataract forming. I had asked specifically about them because pretty much everyone on the Irish side of my family has had them. The doc said, however , that cataracts happen to everyone. He also said it was nothing to worry about and that it would likely be decades before I had to have surgery on it. You can't just see it, although I was kind of hoping I could (that's one of the reasons I think I took this shot, in case I could actually see it. That, and how weird my eye looked all dilated.)

I got behind in photos again - sorry. I took them each day, it was just a very busy week all the way around.

One very relaxing part of my weekend was getting to spend a little time yesterday with my friend, Linda the Chicken Lady. My eye doctor is up in her neck of the woods, so we had a wonderful lunch together and knit for a few hours.

Linda does a lot of canning, etc., and she's started making refrigerator pickles. She experimenting with beets . . . yes. pickled beets. One of my very favorite things!!! We had them for lunch. I could eat them every day I think and never tire of them. Hers are exceptionally good :-) Yum!! :-)

210:365 A Slice of Sky

I had to work late on Friday and night was falling as I was walking to the train. That's the Thompson Center on the left with its sculpture, the United Airlines in back and a parking structure and the Chicago Title and Trust Building on the right.

209:365 Chillin' at the Chagall

It's called The Four Seasons. It's so very beautiful . . . A mosaic in the shape of a rectangular box. It's 70 feet long, 14 feet high and 10 feet wide. It's in the Chase Tower Plaza (formerly the First National Plaza). Chagall donated it to the City. I remember when it was unveiled - it was the mid 70's. It was renovated in the 1994 and the protective glass canopy was installed.

208:365 A Million Stories in the Windy City

The title is a nod to the 60's show about New York, but that's how I feel about Chicago. Behind every one of those lights in the night is a story . . .

From a friend's roof deck on a hot, hazy night. (I recommend that you definitely click to biggify this one :-).)

207:365 Free Form

That is the name of this sculpture by Richard Hunt. It adorns the front of the old State of Illinois Building. It's two stories high and weighs about three tons. Its name came from Richard Hunt's thoughts on abstract art - that it is freely formed. This shot is at a difficult angle, I couldn't quite capture it as I wanted.

206:365 Fruits of the Wheel

The Tour de France is over - and so is the Tour de Fleece :-D These are the yarns I spun - I accomplished a few of my goals of wanting to finish up some yarns that had been lingering on the wheel. It's a good feeling.

Clockwise from the top - the black/multi is 2-ply 100% Merino from All Spun Up; the reddish/tan is 2-ply 100% Blue-Faced Leicester from Briar Rose Fibers; the two skeins of blue/green are 2-ply 100% Blue-Faced Leicester in the Forest Afternoon colorway from Miss Babs; and the nondescript grayish/brown is 3-ply, a blend of Corriedale and CVM (not a great choice of fibers to have blended I've decided).

205:365 In the Yard . . .

So very hot for weeks, and then, the deluge . . .

204:365 No Name . . .

I found it at the Home Depot. Thought there might be a chance of identifying it because it's from Canada and it's so unique, but no luck. I'm surprised I'm going to give it shelf space since I can't show it, but sometimes you have have to go for beauty over function. :-)

203:365 The Way Out

Snapped on my way back to the office after lunch with a former co-worker. This guy was pounding down the steps of the L station at Clark and Lake.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

202:365 Hot Town, Summer in the City . . .

It continues to be hotter than blazes here. Walking even a block outside leaves one drenched in perspiration. The Farmers Market was very sparse this morning - but these all-yellow sunflowers caught my eye.

I've been in a bit of a slump lately and it's been awhile since I've taken a photo that I like as much as I like this one. Summer in the City, indeed. :-)

Here's some music to go with the 101 degrees it was in my village today (with a heat index of about 109. Yikes!)

201:365 Ever Old, Ever New

The old Tender House and the new glass and steel skyscraper across the River just seemed to fit together - that's sort of Chicago in a nutshell: Ever Old, Ever New . . . with a pigeon thrown in for good measure ;-)

200:365 Paper Cuts

I think there is probably a name for this - but I don't know what it is. This is a paper sculpture that is both inside and outside of a "bistro and sake bar" (an interesting combination . . . ) that is in the Pedway underneath what used to be Block 37 (which used to be a huge vacant city block literally in the middle of the Loop).

If you look, over to the right of the photo you can see where the glass is and where the sculpture continues inside the bistro.

Monday, July 18, 2011

199:365 Tree of Life

It's hot here. Really, really hot - dangerously hot - so I wasn't out much more than to walk to the train and back. I walked underground to the office, and I didnt go outside at lunch because extremes of temperature have been known to cause me asthma issues. Thus, photos from inside the house again. This time, it's a little tiny hooked piece that is on a small basket. I like it. I didn't make it :-)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

198:365 A Totem

This beaded turtle is on a beautiful, velvet medicine bag that one of my best friends gave me for my birthday. I adore it.

197:365 Destined for the Frog Pond

Pretty enough . . . The famous "Monkey Socks." Thousands of people have knit this pattern, so it must fit a whole lot of people . . . I tried everything, but they do not fit, so they are destined to be frogged (ripped out).

I only made the one, but I could not modify it to fit properly - this doesn't happen very often (thankfully).

Here's me attempting to haul it over my heel and instep - it's stretched as far as it can stretch . . .

And here it is on my foot - tight as can be on the calf, and bunched up and loose in the foot. Completely unwearable. Oh well. The yarn is Socks That Rock medium weight in the Mist colorway - a gift to me from Linda the Chicken Lady. I'm going to make some other socks with it. The color is truest in the first photo.

196:365 Pasta, Pesto and Puccini

Happens once a year at my house when the fresh basil comes in to the farmers' market. Really good wine (seriously), my world-class pesto (made fresh - and no, I'm not modest about it ;-D), Puccini through the studio speakers, and an evening with my cousins. What a wonderful way to spend a summer night :-)

195:365 The End of the Day

Been awhile since I'd seen a sunset this beautiful . . .

194:365 The Work of my Hands

This is 3-ply yarn. It's wool - a blend of Corriedale and CVM (two breeds of sheep). I would not blend the two fleeces again - it wasn't a great choice. The roving, although pin-drafted and pretty much ready to spin, "sticks" to itself, making it difficult to draft easily. It has a slightly warmer, tan cast to it than this photo would have you believe.

I have 7 pounds of it, however, so I'm going to be spinning it for quite some time :-D

193:365 Tools of the Trade

I keep my wooden knitting needles (and a couple of strays and a drop spindle) in this vase on an old table in the corner of my sunroom/studio. It was made by an awesome potter and wonderful friend of mine.

192:365 Glazed Terra Cotta

This tile is on the side of the building at 205 W. Madison. Not a particularly important building architecturally speaking - at least I didn't find anything about it in my search. But there is an alleyway between it and the next building on Madison, which is the AT&T Building. At the corner of the building, at the edge of the alleyway, facing the alley (not the street), is this beautiful glazed tile - remains of the decorative structure. You would never notice it unless you were looking for it. I saw it one day -months ago when I was over there, and have been wanting to go back and capture it ever since.

Monday, July 11, 2011

191:365 Look Into My Eyes . . .

Once again, it was 10 p.m. and I realized I hadn't had the camera in hand all day . . . but it is kind of hypnotic, isn't it? :-) It's detail from a beautiful tile that a friend gave me for Christmas. The spiral has great significance for me. I've tried to get a photo of it before - today's, even under pressure, is the best I managed.

190:365 Summer - Lake Geneva

On the main street, buy a ticket from the Lions' Club to win a Harley. Millions of tourists, 90 degrees, summer day - I hope they sold a bundle of tickets!

189:365 WTH?!?!?!?!

Did you ever have one of those days? I drove to work (almost never do that) because I was going away for the weekend - then, I never left the office for more than a second, and then I was walking to my car around 6 and realized I hadn't taken any photos . . .

So. This goofy photo is my car - yes, I have a real station wagon - parked in the wayback of the garage under my building. I did think it looked kind of cool in an urban industrial sort of way as I was clicking the shot, but . . . um . . . now that I really see it - not so much.

Oh well :-S

Thursday, July 7, 2011

188:365 A Different Point of View

You usually see the Wrigley building in night photos, bathed in the bright white lights that illuminate it. It's actually two buildings, joined by that little walkway you see about halfway up. No one ever shoots it from the side . . . except me :-) It really is very beautiful - it was a grey day here today, and so it's white terra cotta seems to reflect the sky. It always looks brighter when the sun is shining.

The buildings are uniquely shaped. Here's a history from the Wrigley website if you are interested.

187:365 Woven Memories

Not a lot of photos today . . . it was between this and my new bento box lunchbox :-D

This is some detail from a woven pillow cover that I got in Morocco. I think it might be overstitched, but I'm not really just. I just know that I find it really quite beautiful.

186:365 Vertigo

It kind of gives me vertigo if I look at it long enough (click on it to biggify). The flowers by the train, on my way home.

This day, 5th of July, is also the name of a really great play by the late Lanford Wilson. One of my favorites.

Monday, July 4, 2011

185:365 Tour de Fleece

Every year there is a group of people who spin during the Tour de France - I think I've mentioned this before :-D

This is my first skein of yarn for TdeF this year. It's Miss Babs' 100% Blue-Faced Leicester in the Forest Afternoon colorway. It's still drying out on the hammock on the deck so I don't know the yardage - but this is a pretty good-sized skein. It's worsted weight, 2-ply.

It was one of my goals for Tour de Fleece to finish a bunch of spinning that I had started and not completed. I have one more 4 oz. bump of fiber to do of this colorway. And I have one skein that I already spun, hence needing to finish it all up :-) Not sure what I'll make with it - probably a hat/scarf/mitts combo of some sort.

Spun on my first wheel - it remains my favorite :-) - my folding Lendrum.

Happy 4th of July!! :-)

Sunday, July 3, 2011

184:365 Hannah!

This is Hannah, she came with her owner (my friend, Linda the Chicken Lady) to visit me today :-) She is exceptionally well behaved, but she wiggled a lot so this was the clearest shot I got :-D

It was nice to have a dog in the house - wish I had one of my own.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

183:365 A Very Sad Violet

I can't believe that with this photo, I'm halfway through my 365 Project. Wow!!

This plant, called Rainbow's Limelight, is very sad. You'll recall that it's part of a project that I'm working on with two plants that have been sorely neglected, to see if I can get them to shape up for show.

Let's take a closer look: Halo-ing on the leaves (that's where it's lighter on the edges), leaves hanging down over the pot (usually a temperature issue), old spent leaves (a sign of neglect), and slightly stunted, but healthy center growth - this plant needs desperately to be repotted.

I put it down in the basement, but the cooler temps down there just were not for it. I thought it might perk up down there, but no-go.

Pretty much the same story with Decelle's Triomphe, with the addition of a lot of immature leaves in the mix. I thought it might like the cooler temps of the basement because it is a variegated plant. Um . . . not so much.

Last we saw these two, it was near the end of May. I left them to their own devices down in the basement. There was good news and bad news. The good news was that once I disbudded, the foliage on both plants layed back down in a much more normal formation. The bad news was that neither of them were happy in the steady, cooler temps. Truthfully, I was surprised by this - but the evidence is clear - the leaves of both plants were now hanging down and hugging the pot - a pretty reliable indicator that they are too cold.

So, today, I disbudded again and repotted them both, and moved them back upstairs where it's warmer. I've photo'd and documented repotting before - it's not for the faint of heart . . .so I will spare you all the leaf pulling, rootball cutting and neck scraping and just show you the finished result.

Both plants had been in 3" pots. I moved them both up to 4" pots.

Here's RL. What a difference - I know that some of those leaves are still halo'd, but they already look better than they did - and did you notice that the twisty upside down leaf settled itself back down? It had been forced out of alignment by my failure to tease the bloomstalks up above the foliage. Once I disbudded initially, I was able to gently train it back down into its proper position.

And here's DT. I know, you're probably thinking, "WTH?! Where are all the leaves???" Well, all those leaves needed to come off. Yes, this plant is looking a little lopsided, but that's only because I took off a leaf that was between the bottom center and the bottom right.

African violet leaves grow in triangles -each row with three leaves - and each row ideally overlaps the one before it. Be removing the lower rows of leaves, I'm giving the newer ones a better chance to grow out to their full potential.

These plants will not go to show with me this fall, but It's my hope to take them to the AVSA National Convention next June, in Detroit. I'll be able to drive, so I'll be able to take some plants. I don't know that these two will ever be big winners, but it's my hope to get them to blue-ribbon shape by then :-)

182:365 A Stormy Morning

I was on the corner of LaSalle and Wacker (I'm there alot), and looked back to the east. The storm was moving out over the Lake.

181:365 The Water Tower

This is the famous Chicago Water Tower. It, and the pumping station next to it (you can't see it in this photo) were built in 1869. The tower was the only public structure within the burn zone to survive the Great Fire of 1871.

The tower is 154 feet tall, and contains a 138 foot standpipe used to help with water flow and pressure for the pumping station. Both the tower and the pumping station are still in use today.

I think it's beautiful - this castle tower in the midst of what is now a city of steel and glass.

180:365 One of the Dogs . . .

Forever ago, in another life, I did some voiceover work. The graphic artist who did my J-card (yes, that long ago) used these wonderful dogs on the card. And he made me this pin, that I still have all these years later. Mostly it lives here in my shadowbox now. It never fails to make me smile :-)