Archive | January 2010

Another Fun Weekend in Grand Rapids

I visited my friend again last weekend and had a wonderful time. One of the highlights was Saturday afternoon when we drove to Rockford, MI to visit the JT Stitchery and Frame Shop:

This was a nice shop that was mostly devoted to yarn, knitting, and crochet, but had a decent sized cross stitch section also. The upstairs was a frame shop. The owner (I assume) was super helpful and friendly and told us about some of the interesting things to do around town.  I asked about knitting classes and she told me that they are usually on weeknights but that I could schedule a private class if I wanted to, which I might do, because I really want to learn to knit socks!

One of the places she told us about was The Old World Olive Press.  This is a very cool place!  The store is filled with little kettles that have various flavors and infusions of olive oils and balsamic vinegars.  There are little paper cups next to each of them so that you can sample all of the flavors. 

 I would love to visit this place again next time I need vinegar or olive oil!

We also went to a shop called WAR International.  WAR stands for Women at Risk.  The store is filled with beautiful jewelry and other gifts made by disadvantaged women around the world.  Profits provide safe places for women and children who’ve been rescued from lives of horror including human trafficking and slavery.  We made a purchase there and it kindof felt good to know that WAR International is a non profit organization and that our purchase was somehow helpful to people who really need it.

There were lots of other good things about the weekend, including scrabble playing and a little stitching. 

I’ve made some good progress on Alhambra and will save that post for another night.

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What a Fun Weekend!

On Saturday, I went to visit a friend who lives in Grand Rapids, MI, which is about two hours north of where I live. He told me to bring something nice to wear, which I did, and was surprised by tickets to see the Grand Rapids Symphony!  The theme of the concert was “Scottish Visions” and featured a wonderful guest performer – Evelyn Glennie.    Ms. Glennie is an amazing performer and percussionist and what makes it so incredible to watch is that she suffered a profound loss of hearing at the age of 12.  If you click on the “Scottish Visions” link you can listen to her talk about how music can be perceived with much more of your body than just your ears.   It was interesting to watch that in many ways, she was indirectly leading the musicians by providing cues to the director, who was in turn leading the symphony and it all fit together just right.  There’s a short sound clip of the performance that you can listen to, and if you go to her web page link, there is much more to hear and learn about her.  There are also some links on You Tube.  She is an amazing musician and performer and the experience was something that I don’t think I’ll ever forget.

My friend suggested that we go get a drink and talk after we left the show and he took me to a bar called the Kopper Top.  This was a cozy little spot to sit and talk.  The place was totally decked out for Valentines Day with fun paper hearts and all shades of pink and red covering the walls..  Strings of red lights everywhere.  I am told that they do this for every holiday and that its always over the top.  We only ordered drinks, but the service was good.  We stayed there and talked until they kicked us out.  🙂

The following morning we went out to breakfast, then my friend took me to the Frederick Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park.  The grounds host a permanent sculpture collection.  We walked around in the snow and saw some pretty interesting things before the cold and the wind forced us back indoors:

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I wish I could credit the artists for these pieces….

There was much more to see, but for me, it’ll have to be on a nice spring or summer day where you can take your time and not worry about slipping on the snow and ice or wonder when your fingers might actually be warm enough again to work properly.  🙂

The main building on the grounds has a nice cafe and lots of interior artwork that was fun to look at. I was particularly interested in the floor of the building which is a work of art in itself. The floor has bronze inlays everywhere with plant and leaf themes and is named Beneath the Leafy Crown by Michele Oka Doner. I took lots of pictures of the floor, but due to odd lighting and the inadequecies of the camera on my phone, this was the only shot that turned out well enough to post:

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There were interior tropical gardens that were lush and green (and warm!) that we looked at too. I really liked the plants in this picture, and the train tracks shown were very extensive and as we walked along we would find the train tracks going over our heads.

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I really enjoyed the time spent at this place and hope to go back again when the gardens outside are flourishing.  The park also features what looks would be a nice childrens play area and an outdoor band shell.

(Note to self: Start carrying a real camera with you so that you can get better shots when you unexpectedly end up at a really neat spot.)

All in all a wonderful weekend with a wonderful new friend.

2009 Ornament Project Finished!

I finished my last (December) ornament on New Year’s Day!  I would say it was probably one of the more ambitious ornaments as it is 4″ in diameter and solid stitching.  Here it is:

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The pins were a last minute idea and stuck in while the glue was drying. It needed something, I thought, and I didn’t feel like getting out the cording drill. 🙂

So, my 2009 Ornament Project is finished! Here they all are:

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Yay! Will there be a 2010 ornament project?? Um.. no. I’d actually like to focus on my larger projects in 2010. I’m still got Alpine Seasons going and I made a really wimpy start on Alhambra:

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I might also like to start a VS sampler too, but haven’t decided which one. I have a couple of smaller WIPS hanging around that I can work on when I get tired of the big stuff.

I’ve been in a bit of a stitching slump the last several months, but now that the snow is falling and I have a non-existant social life, I’m sure I’ll be doing a lot more stitching.

Happy New Year everybody!