Sunday, November 14, 2010

Saturday Still Life

Posted by PicasaI bought this piece of batik fabric at a rummage sale today.  It is just gorgeous.  I can't decide what I will do with it so for now, it is a tablecloth.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

If you're visiting San Francisco

You may want to visit Britex Fabrics. I really am feeling the need to go there myself. Except I am afraid, very afraid.  I need button or a frog or some type of decidedly exotic closure for a bag.  I barely escaped the urge to take up a new hobby myself the last time I was there buying fringe for a pillow.  I fear I may start buying yarn and try to learn to knit.  They had imported Italian yarn, all feathery and textury. You have been forewarned.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Saturday Still Life

The weekend went by so quickly and peacefully.  Yesterday, I was up in my sewing room at 8 in the morning trying to decide what to do. Then, I heard on the radio it was going to rain so I thought I'd better clean out the rain gutters.  One thing lead to another, trim the tree, cut the grass, rake up leaves, sweep the street gutter, clean the storm drains for our area, then the creative energy of the day was spent.  And then no rain.  Today, it rained pretty much all day so I was free for creative pursuits and sewed at my leisure.  I had the windows open to air out the house and left them open until late afternoon.  The rain seems to have cleaned the dust from the air and streets making it feel almost spring like.  It doesn't seem much like fall and I'm not ready for winter.  Hence, the pastel gerberas.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Norwegian quilt

I haven't come up with a design yet for a quilt with a Norwegian influence.  I wish I had gone to the Museum of Decorative Arts in Trondheim.  Oh well, that is just another reason I will have to go back to Norway.

But, here are some fabrics that I am considering using for the quilt.  I think the fabric below looks a lot like the intricate carving from the Norwegian stave churches.

 I love these three batik fabrics.

I think this pattern is reminiscent of runic writing.

I would love to back the quilt with minky if I could find it in an fur-like pattern or something similar.  I need to get my creative inspiration going!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Yosemite's North Dome 2,294 MOH

No, this isn't North Dome, it is what you see from North Dome which is Half Dome in Yosemite National Park.  I want to hike Half Dome and wanted to do it this year, but as a preparation, my friend thought I should first do the much easier hike out to North Dome from the trail starting at Porcupine Flat.  I was game for it.  So off we were early one morning eager to be out in the wilderness.

I saw the sign at the trailhead, North Dome 4.8 miles. No problem, I walk that much just on Sunday.  Except what I walk isn't at elevation.  In fact, I live pretty darn close to sea level and North Dome is at about 7,525 feet above sea level or 2,294 meters above the sea (MOH in Norwegian).  Just for your information, a mile is 5280 feet, so it was 1.4 miles above sea level.

You will notice that we keep going downhill.  We also tried to keep in the shade of the trees as much as possible as it can get quite warm.  And drink lots of water.  My rule of thumb in the field has always been that I bring two quarts to drink.  When, the first quart is done, time to turn back.

A side view from the trail of pine trees growing out of the solid granite.

More going downhill.  That made the hike in not too bad.  (You do see where I'm going with this, don't you?)

Just for scale, the person in the photo is 5'10" or 178 centimeters tall.There it is, just off in the distance.  That is North Dome.

Just before we get there, we have to go uphill.  The climb to the top wasn't too bad.  And, the view was stunning!

We had a nice lunch and a short rest.  Then, I had to slog myself back uphill to the car.  That took considerably more time and effort.  My whole backside was strained to the max.  Let me rephrase that.  My gluteous, hamtring and calf muscles were screaming, I CAN'T TAKE ANYMORE!  STOP!  REST!  BREATHE!  Every step was like doing squats except that I was already at muscle failure and had to keep going until I really, really couldn't take another step.  Oh, I could have stopped more often like every other step, it's just that then I would have had to sleep out on the trail and who wants to do that when you have a perfectly lovely bed to go home to?  (Note to self:  I need to loose more weight.  Do more endurance training.  Maybe go to a bootcamp.  Join the Marines.)  I think that I will have to put off hiking into Half Dome until next year since it is about twice the distance as the hike into North Dome.  But, just for the record, the hike was great and I would do it again anytime!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Retailers pay attention!

Okay, I wasn't really sure what to name this post but I wanted to complain to the powers that be that they really need to design everyday, mundane objects with some sort of style even if we are in a recession. I have been looking, quite unsuccessfully, to buy sheets for a couple of years now. Everything I have seen is your basic blue, brown, green, white or off-white in the most awful shades. I thought it was just me so I mentioned to my friend recently how I had finally bought a new set of sheets after years of looking (the last bottom sheet had finally shredded) and she said the same thing. She finally had to buy a new set and settled on the least offensive color she could find which was off-white.

So, this is what I was lucky enough to find. I would buy another set and maybe even another in a different color, if they were available.  They are made of microfiber which is not as breatheable as cotton but I fell in love with the color and the Art Nouveau like pattern.  And, best of all, I bought them at a discount store for a mere $15. I love them!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Norway Rocks!

That just about sums it up.  These are the rocks I found on my walk around the Nidelva.  I was getting a bit worried that I wasn't going to find just the perfect rocks, but I think I did.  I call them on my Norway zen rocks and when I light a candle and put them there I remember the peace and serenity I felt when I was in Norway.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Trondheim, Part Three

So, as I had been criss-crossing Trondheim Torg, near my hotel, they had been setting up for a concert all day.  The Torg is plaza with a granite column with a statue of Olaf Tryggvason, the Viking founder of Trondheim.  I asked someone who seemed to be  part of the setting up, what was up?  Well, it seems that they had been having the world orienteering games all week around Trondheim and this was to be the medal ceremony.  And, afterwards, there would be a concert by some local bands.  The speech making and awards would take about an hour.  I asked if the bands were good and she thought they were very good and to come back later.

I returned just a bit before the ceremonies were over.  Here they are, the medal winners.  The Norwegian won first place, of course!

Then, the bands started.  I thought this artist had a bit of promise.  Don't know his name, but he is a student at the same college in England that one of the Beatles had gone to.

Oh, this singer had quite an enthusiastic following.  I couldn't get a photo of her without the two gentlemen in the foreground.
This guy was pretty good.  He had been touring Europe as a tribute artist to Jerry Lee Lewis.  Had a pretty good rendition of Great Balls of Fire.
Oh, and I really liked the shoes this lady was wearing but before I could find out where to buy them, she left.  Darn!  Well, if anyone knows, please let me know!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Trondheim, Part Two

Who couldn't love this face? This is the Vitenskaps Museum on Erling Skakkes Gate in Trondheim (and just who is Erling Skakke)? I was drawn to this place like a moth to a flame. The Vitenskap. As far as I can tell, vitenskap means science. I know, it's kinda cheesy, nevertheless, I had to resist the urge to smooth his whiskers back and scratch him behind the ears.

This reminded me so much of the Museum of Natural History in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. As a small child, my parents would take us there on Sundays (my dad later confessed that we went there on Sundays because it and the Steinhart Aquarium were free that day!) There, my mom would hold my hand as I walked down this ginormous hall with dioramas of stuffed animals from Africa. I would stare wide-eyed at these dead and stuffed animals and I could not image why in the world anyone would want to kill animals, stuff them and display them in fake "natural" scenes behind glass.

There was a lot of interesting stuff in the Vitenskaps museet, including a pretty decent American Indian section. I went to look at Viking treasure bling, ever in search of design inspiration. I can't say I found inspiration there but doesn't 14 look a lot like a chopping board? Well, I guess chopping boards been around a long time.
Here is a lovely statue. It was rather peaceful. The statue is called An-Magritt of Hovistuten a character in a novel by Johan Falkbergets and erected in his memory. The work is by Kristofer Leirdal who just passed away in July at the age of 95. I like the simpleness, straightforwardness and power of the statue.

It is in front of the Ilen church or kirke. I liked the tile patterns on the church's roof.

Oh, here is the beautiful Nidelva or Nid river. Elva means river in Norwegian and I think I prefer to say, the Nidelva because it suits the river better.

I had been searching for a few pebbles to bring back with me as a memory of Norway but hadn't seen anything visually appealing. That is what I say when someone asks me why I chose to collect certain stones. I can't always explain why I pick one rock over another except that I find it more visually appealing. Anyhoo, I was explaining my dilemma to the hotel clerk and asked him where I might find such appealing little stones and asking him to forgive my weirdness. But not to worry, he said he did the same thing himself on vacation. So, he drew a path on my map and this is where it led.

I thought the undulating balconies of these apartments where very appealing plus all of the flowers!

More lovely homes!

I had to photograph this climbing hydrangea. I couldn't believe a hydrangea could grow this far north and survive the winters.

Trondheim was full of surprises including this classic, Chevy Nova. Look at that wax job! I couldn't resist taking a photo! Evidently, there is an American muscle car club in Trondheim. I could hear them revving their engines and pealing out from my hotel room on my first night in Trondheim. Then, they were busy cruising the streets the next day. As you might imagine, the drivers of these cars are not teenagers! Well, they might have been when these cars were new!

I came out to this really, quaint group of buildings. Trondheim was full of surprises but more were yet to come!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Nidaros Cathedral Trondheim

People ask me why I went to Trondheim. I don't know why that is a question that crosses their mind when I think that Trondheim may be the most beautiful Norwegian city that I visited. Yes, Oslo and Bergen are nice and I didn't make it to Ålesund, a city rebuilt in the art nouveau style after it burnt down. But, Trondheim has a transcendental,almost ethereal feeling. Like magic (cue Abba, even though they are Swedish). The cathedral is made out of this blue gray stone. I am sure that it is quarried locally. The photos are not adjusted for color. This is it.

The west wall. If you want to see the window from the inside, click here. As, I bypassed the cathedral to go somewhere else, I didn't see it from the inside. I planned on returning later, to go inside and see the bishops palace, however, I didn't check the hours of opening and they closed just as I got there.

Oh, my, heads on a platter. Evidently, these poor fellows were decapitated and their uncle, the bishop found them.

Jesus on the cross. I'm not sure who the knight shaking his fist at Jesus is, a Knight Templar?

Adam and Eve. They don't look that embarrassed to be naked. We are in Scandinavia, after all.

I just love the gargoyle rain spouts. Wish I had them on my rain gutters.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Norway in a Nutshell

This is one of the many waterfalls I saw on the "Norway in a Nutshell" tour of the Sognefjord area. The maiden in the red dress is supposed to be a huldra, a creature of Scandinavian folklore.

Unfortunately, I messed up a bit in my travel arrangements and had to backtrack from Bergen. If I had been smart, I would have gotten off the train from Oslo at Myrdal like 95% of the people on the train to catch the Flåmsbana or Flåm Railroad down to the town, then taken the bus to Voss, then the train onto Bergen. But, in my defense, I couldn't figure out the freakin' bus schedule from here and I didn't want to be dragging my luggage around while on tour. And, I booked a RIB or rigid inflatable boat tour (think rubber raft with a motor) to go out into the UNESCO World Heritage site Nœrøyfjord and it was a blast! I got off at Gudvangen and the tour had a van waiting to take us to Voss (something else I couldn't figure out from the States). However, some folks did go back to Flåm. This is the stave church in Voss.

As we had missed our scheduled train back to Bergen because of mechanical problems with the van, I had some time to photograph it while nervously waiting for the next one and trying to figure out just how much time I would have to get to the airport when we got back to Bergen. When I had tried to book a train ticket to Trondheim in Bergen, I was told there wasn't one. You get spoiled travelling in Europe. You just assume that there is a train going everywhere especially to the third largest city in a country. Wrong. (Actually, there is a train to Trondheim but I would have to go back to Oslo.) So I had my choice of getting to Trondheim by bus or plane. And, I had to get to Trondheim because I was flying out to Berlin from there and had already booked my ticket in Oslo. This is why I think the name "Norway in a Nutshell" is so appropriate for this part of Norway because a nutshell is hard to crack!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Lovely, lovely Bergen

The view from the train.

So, I left on the early morning train for Bergen from Oslo. Just as a note for those who ever go to Norway. Norway is a land of rivers and fjords. What does this mean for a traveller? Lovely landscapes? Yes. Scenic vistas? Yes. Difficulty in getting from Point A to Point B? Yes. But, not quite yet. Here is old, downtown Bergen, a UNESCO world heritage site. At the top of the photo, you can just see where the scenic vista from Mount Fløyen is and the funicular.

Here is one of the quaint buildings.

Eventually, I rode up the funicular to look down on Bergen. They asked me when I purchased my ticket whether I wanted a round trip ticket or was I going to walk down? So, I asked how long it would take to walk down and they said about 45 minutes. Of course, if you ask a Norwegian, those are 45 Norwegian minutes. So, I figured, no problem, I would walk down even though it was about 7 ish pm in the evening.

Looking down at Bergen from one of the trails on Mount Fløyen.

It was quite a lovely walk down. Very wooded and peaceful, although I passed lots of people walking and running down, or rather, they passed me.

This pergola was quite lovely. This was taken about 10 pm in the evening. Due to the midnight sun, the days are long in the summer, and it doesn't really quite get dark at night. I could so live in Norway. In the summer.

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