Wednesday, March 28, 2012

One PAIR of mittens

The colorwork pair of mittens are not finished, but this pair of mittens meant to imitate cloisonne enamel work is done. As usual, Penny was the instigator and I meekly agreed to learn to knit these mittens while she was here visiting at the beginning of March. We shopped for yarn, figured out the instructions on the pattern, and cast on. Penny finished her first pair within a couple of days (and is probably on her third or fourth pair by now). The pattern is Cloisonee by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee.

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Monday, March 26, 2012

The Omnipotent Magician

Recently while reading a novel by Jeffrey archer, I came upon a passing reference to the English landscaper, Lancelot Brown. That tiny, brief reference sparked an interest that culminated in my buying Jane Brown's excellent biography of Mr. Brown titled The Omnipotent Magician: Lancelot 'Capability' Brown, 1716-1783.

It's out of print now, but worth tracking down and reading. According to Ms Brown, the nickname 'Capability' doesn't appear to have ever been used during Lancelot Brown's lifetime, but was added in later years as a joke, because he is said to have looked at any and all pieces of land and told the owners that their landscapes had great capabilities to be made into something special. Whatever the truth to the nickname, it doesn't matter. Brown was an interesting person who did change the looks of English landowners' lands. He created beautiful, scenic views to be enjoyed while on the estate, while driving to it, from the windows of the house, and so on. (Think of Pemberley in the BBC movie version of Pride and Prejudice. The artificial lakes are exactly the kind of feature Brown loved to add to a landscape, along with a curving approach to the house, glimpses of the house or other buildings between trees, etc.)

He had a vision for making views, and he did quite well in his lifetime. The book includes pictures of some of the landscapes and views that Lancelot and his men created. It's really a fascinating biography, and also serves well as a springboard to find out about contemporaries of his.


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Dauphin Island

On our next-to-last day in Mobile we decided to go to the beach. I'd never been to Dauphin Island and had heard many nice things about it, so we made the quick drive - and opted to take the three-mile-bridge route instead of the ferry - and spent the afternoon enjoying the sun, sand and water.

It was Bear's first visit to a beach and he loved it. Sam rode a few waves and we all enjoyed the warmth and the white "sugar" sand. Before heading back to Mobile, we explored the island a bit, and toured Fort Gaines.

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Monday, March 12, 2012

Spring travel

Joan, Bear, Sam and I are in Mobile, AL for a few days. It's spring break for Joan, and she asked if we could go somewhere, so I selected Mobile as our destination. Fresh seafood, river and bay views, art, museums, shops, and the nearby towns of Daphne, Fairhope, and Foley give us plenty to enjoy. As an added bonus, trains rumble through across the street from our hotel and Bear finds them fascinating.

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