Sunday, December 18, 2016

Magical Mystery Memory New York Tour

For the last 12 years I have had a wish to someday go back to New York.  I used to go to New York several times a year when I was working, to go to the shoe shows or to the garment district to work on clothes and shoes for several catalogs.  I would normally stay at the Warwick, at 54 and 6.  The Warwick was built by William Randolph Hearst in 1926 for his love, film star Marion Davies, and his Hollywood friends.  It is old world class and charm.  I was last in New York in 2004, as a middle-aged career woman, slim, fairly stylish, and totally in love with my new husband Carl, and the city itself.  Fast forward to 2016.  And, I do mean FAST forward.  How could this be?  I am now looking forward to Medicare coverage on January 1.  Carl and I have been married 13 years.  I carry around extra padding, and don't have a clear idea about what is in fashion.  In November, Carl casually suggested we go to New York in December, my absolute favorite time to visit.  Before the sentence was out of his mouth, I had flights booked and a room reserved at the Warwick for three nights.  I still remembered that I just needed to pack black clothes and comfortable, black shoes.  I wasn't too sure about the Lands End puffy knee-length jacket, but it was the warmest and it was the required black color.  Of course, the Sunday we were to fly out, we had our first big dump of snow.  The flight was a bit delayed, but after a good de-ice, we were on our way to Laguardia. 

On the approach to the twinkling city, I spotted Lady Liberty, something I looked for on each trip.  I had reserved a car, Call 7, a car service that is new since I was there.  Took us a while to find the pick-up point, but it went well after that.  The Warwick looked exactly the same.  I bet it still looks very much like it did in the Twenties.  The lobby bar, Randolph's is still there, the furniture is even the same.  Not shabby, at all, just quality style that is timeless.  After checking in, seeing our room with a 17th floor view of 6th Ave., we decided to see if the cocktails were still as yummy.  I believe this is the bar where Carl first had an Appletini.  The waitress has been there 19 years, so that is why I remembered her. 
I had a yummy Black Sparking, blackberry puree/orange liquor/champagne, and Carl had his Appletini.  Two each.  With tip, almost $100.  Welcome to New York!

Monday we enjoyed a wonderful breakfast in the hotel restaurant, Murals.  The entire wall is a 1937 mural by American illustrator Dean Cornwell.  Someday I should get a picture of that!  I didn't get a picture of that bill, but, again, it was almost $100.  I am seeing a pattern. 

My first stop on the Magical Mystery Memory Tour,  was to the European grocery store a block away, Ernest Klein.  At Christmas they have displays of European cookies and candies that are delightful!  On the way there, we passed Robert Indiana's famous LOVE art install.

You can tell that Carl and I are total losers at taking selfies.  Maybe that will be my 2017 resolution.  Anyway, we bought a few goodies and went back to hotel to grab a taxi to take us to Soho.  We should have taken the trains, but they have the cutest new taxi-vans there, and I wanted to experience near-death again!

Purl Soho was our destination.  I have been a fan a Purl Soho for many years.  Online they sell beautiful, lush yarns, and fabulous fabrics.  Patrick and Sarah and Addy, upon learning of my trip to Purl Soho, generously provided a gift certificate!  I was a bit giddy!  I was very surprised to see that the store is pretty small.  It is New York, after all.  Each yarn choice, each fabric bolt has been hand curated to be the finest.  The shop was busy with all ages of customers.  Carl quickly decided to walk around outside a bit and find a Diet Coke.  The staff was very friendly, and helpful, and extremely patient with a 90+ customer that was a bit confused.  I finally decided to buy a pattern for a sweater, called the Addy, and some beautiful wool yarn in a paprika color.  I also bought some linen/wool yarn for a scarf, and a notebook that was made for designing knit patternwork. 

Almost each trip to New York I would walk to the Crate and Barrel flagship store on Fifth Avenue.  I was surprised to learn it had moved to Soho, but pleased to see if was just a few short blocks from Purl Soho.  Christmas, again, is such a fun time to be in stores.  I could have spent a couple hours, and the required $100, but it was so HOT in there!   We actually found that most all New York places were way overheated!  No one else seemed to notice....but Carl and I thought it was awful!  We decided to walk from there to a Christmas Market at Bryant Park.  We were lucky the whole trip that the weather was cold, but very pleasant!  It was a nice long walk, taking in the sights.  We meandered through the booths.  I could have spent a bunch, again, but decided just to purchase felt taxi ornament.

Next stop was Rockefeller Center to see the tree and the ice skaters.  But, tragedy almost happened!  I always wear my handbag under my coat, but somehow the strap became unhooked and it fell on the taxi floor.  Carl just happened to look back to spy it and grabbed it before closing the taxi door.  Yikes!  Money!  Id!  Credit cards!  Phone!  God bless Carl!  We looked at a few store windows on Fifth Avenue, then on another few blocks to our Hotel.  On the way, I got asked about subway directions from a young woman.  That made my day, because I always got asked in the past at least once for directions!  I must not look too out of place!  (by the way, most people had on black, knee length, puffy coats!  I am sure they weren't the bargain Land's End variety, but I didn't feel out of place.) 

We had a little time before our dinner reservation, so we decided to drop another $100 at Randolph's.  This time a guy waited on us and asked if he knew me....I looked familiar and he thought he had waited on me before.  Maybe, but 12 years was a long time ago!  Our dinner was at Red Eye Grill, by Carnegie Hall.  I picked that place because I used to go there with various vendors.  A memory trip, again.  The food was delicious!  We walked back slowly, looking at the lights and festive windows. 

On Tuesday we had decided to take a harbor tour, down the Hudson, around the Statue of Liberty, and into the East River, a 1.5 hour cruise.  Somehow we were given the wrong information over the phone, and when we showed up at Pier 63, the only tour was 2.5 hours, around the entire isle of Manhattan!  It was a cold, but sunny day, so we decided to go for it! 

It was a guided tour, and our host was very entertaining and knowledgeable about New York history and architecture.  Relaxing and educational.  We had an early dinner reservation because we had tickets for a Broadway show, so after the cruise we decided to avoid the heavy traffic and walk the 1.7 miles back to hotel.  We did go through Hell's Kitchen, and some other interesting New York neighborhoods, but we survived.  A quick change and we were off to dinner at Gallaghers, an old New York steak house in between our hotel and the Oneil Theater where we were going to see Book of Mormon. 

Turns out, dress is much, much more casual than 12 years ago.  I do believe we were the most dressed up, but it was fun to have a fancy date!   The play was very funny, but Carl did comment that he wouldn't take his grandkids to see it.  On the walk home, we saw Times Square and more seasonal lighting. 

Our flight was early afternoon on Wednesday, so we took another car to the airport.  The driver took a very interesting route, and, at one point, I thought we could be in trouble, but he just was avoiding traffic.  It was a fixed price trip, so fare padding wasn't the case.  I did leave my favorite smart gloves in the car, though, which made me pretty sad.  Again, my selfies are pretty bad! 

We have been home now for 5 days, and it is a great hotel!!!  The bed is super comfy, and there is a whole studio full of yarn and fabric!   Carl had commented in Purl Soho that he thought our place had more yarn and fabric than was there.  Not sure that was a compliment.  Anyway, the trip was magic.  I enjoyed visiting all sorts of New York memories, and making some new ones.  Will we go back?  Not sure.  I have a few other places I would like to see again.  I will enjoy knitting the yarn I bought and trying to recreate the Black Sparkling cocktail.  If you got to this point in this long story, I thank you for hanging in there!  Jerilynn

Thursday, June 9, 2016

New Couch and New Old Hutch

The twin bed that was up in the studio belonged to our oldest granddaughter, and it was reclaimed by her back in March.  We decided to replace it with an Ikea couch that folds down into a bed that is just slightly bigger than a double size.  The only color it came in was a light beige, which was really going to show any dirt.  I decided to make a slip cover for the seat part and also cover the two big back pillows.  I remembered a couch covered with a big measuring stick print at the Spoonflower headquarters in Durham, and located the design in their Marketplace.  I had it printed on their poly-suede fabric, and, a few simple seams later, a very cute couch!  I thought I would show you a couple of pictures of the Eastern wall of the studio to show not only the new couch, but the new corner cabinet.  My ex mother-in-law Alice passed away a year ago and had said she wanted me to have the large, antique corner cabinet that had been in her dining room.  A couple of the sons brought up the huge piece and it fits perfectly in the studio corner.  It is very roomy inside - it has all my fleece in it now, and you know how bulky that stuff is to store!  I taught Alice how to quilt, so I think she would love that her hutch is now at home in my sewing place!  Jerilynn

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Simple Abodes

In continuing with the Tiny Houses theme....I have been Knervously Knitting Tiny  House squares.  I thought it would be cute to sew them all together and make an afghan, and I think it is going to be a favorite.  I am not sure how big I am going to make this.  I think I will decide that as soon as I get tired of making the same knit square over and over.  Changing the colors, though, keeps me amused.  I was going to throw in a few tree blocks or some blank blocks to make "neighborhoods", but I really am liking the rows and rows of simple abodes.  Jerilynn

Friday, June 3, 2016

Tiny Houses

How cute is this?  Well, I know I could have taken a bit of time and "staged" the top shelf, but it is what it is.  I ordered some adhesive wallpaper from Spoonflower - it's a Marketplace design by kristinnohe called home. The color says red-orange, but on the woven wallpaper, which is sticky, it is a good red.  Trust me.  I know my reds.  It was super easy to do, not at all like the horrible contact paper.  It has a good weight to it, and is easy to smooth on.  This was an old sewing cabinet that I thought could use a cute factor.  Now I need to go through all the drawers and de-stash, or find treasures that I have forgotten about.  Summer is a time of multiple visits here from friends and family.  So, it is also a perfect time to clean out drawers and closets and let someone else store the stuff for 30 years.  I have been on a house kick for a while.  Little houses fascinate me.  It must be the HGTV Tiny Houses shows.  I keep telling Carl that I could live in a Tiny House.  He thinks that is hilarious.  Jerilynn

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

First Vector Design

If you are tired of hearing about Spoonflower, then just go on your merry way.  If not, keep reading.  One of our parting gifts was a certificate for a free yard of any fabric with one of our own original designs printed on it.  This is a very nice present, but I am having a paralyzing creative block.  I want the design to be representative of the fabulous educational experience with Becka and Spoonflower and the other eleven students.  Even though I could always try again with another printed yard, this one needs to be special.  I think this happens a lot in the Maker world.  We leave quilt tops unquilted because we don't want to ruin it by imperfect quilting.  We are afraid to submit a design to a magazine because we feel it doesn't look as professional as other designs.  We buy stacks of fabrics but don't want to cut into them in case a better pattern comes along.  As with anything, the more you do something, the better you get at it.  You only get good by being mediocre a whole bunch of times.  So, I just need to work on an idea, decide on a fabric, upload, and push send.  It will be my first fabric that I designed using Illustrator.  It will be fabulous because it is my starting point, my diving board, into, hopefully, a big design pool of great vector fun.  Jerilynn

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Spoonflower Printed Fleece Fabric and a 4th Birthday Quilt

The Bow Tie project from last summer's Denver Wedding is still popping it's head up in various projects.  As I may have mentioned, after a few glasses of wine at the wedding, I decided it was a brilliant idea to take a picture of all the necks of the men wearing bow ties.  I cropped all of them into neat little rectangles, collaged them, and made a large canvas print for the grooms.  I titled it "They Tied the Knot".  When Spoonflower introduced their new poly-fleece fabric, I knew right away that the bow tie design would make a good one to print on fleece.  The fleece isn't a squishy Polartec weight, but it is a nice, very soft, thinner fleece.  Almost reminds me of a heavy German flannel weight.  I used it for the back of Addy's 4th birthday quilt that I made from her tees that she wore during her 4th year.  She was in the wedding last summer, so I thought it fitting that she has a reminder of that fun time.  She wasn't all that impressed when she opened the quilt - after all, I have made her tee quilts each year.  She will like all the quilts, someday, I hope.  She did, however, love the mermaid blanket that we also gave her! I would love to say that I made it, but crochet is painfully slow for me to do.  I don't think she'd want a mermaid blanket when she was 16!  I bought it on Etsy, from Littlepatchescrafts in Canada, and it is beautifully done!   You can see that it makes a great napping blanket!
While I was printing the bow ties, I thought that I would also make a fleece blanket for Ben.  Last summer his folks took a family vacation to Duluth, MN, and went to Canal Park and visited the lighthouse there.  I thought this picture of Ben was really cute, so I posterized it using the tutorial at  .   Also turned out really well. 
This fabric doesn't ravel, so I just cut off the white borders, turned the edges under a bit, and zig-zagged in place.  One yard made a very nice 54" x 36" blanket. 

You can tell that I am a big fan of this printing-my-own-fabric!   Great fun.   Jerilynn

Thursday, April 28, 2016

My Friend's House

This is a picture of a house that my very dear friend owned for many years.  When my original spouse and I moved to Chippewa Falls, WI, from Chicago, IL, back in 1978, I was a very lonely 26 year old.  He had just graduated from dental school and had secured a position as a dentist in a tiny office that came with a small attached house.  I left a great job in downtown Chicago and part of a MBA program at Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University undone.  He left for work each day by walking through a breezeway, and I was alone at home, wondering what to do next.  A new doctor had just opened a family practice, and during a chance visit there I met his office person, Wynne, who happened to also be his sister-in-law. She, too, had recently moved to town from Madison, WI, and also seemed a bit eager to meet new friends.  I found out their house was just a couple blocks from ours and was told to come over at any time.  The concept of just walking up to a house and knocking on the door at any time was not my usual way, but I got the nerve, and over I went.  We became immediate best buds, went on to have babies close together, survived bad perms, organized craft nights, sang together in the choir, counseled through a divorce, and retired to far apart towns. When I found out about the Spoonflower class in Durham, I was so excited that I not only would learn a ton, but that I could visit my friends Wynne and Paul who have a darling retirement home there.  I wanted to make them a little something as a thank you for the hauling around they were going to do for me, and thought of their old house that was obviously so much a part of their history, but also so much a part of mine.  I took the picture of the house, loaded it into the Bernina software, and outline sketched around it.  I put this simple redwork embroidery on a tea towel - they are Cooks, and I thought it was fitting.  A very small thank-you gift for almost 40 years of friendship that started with a knock on that house's door.  Jerilynn